OTTAWA, Aug 21 (Reuters) - Canadian retail sales rose more than expected in June, on higher gasoline prices and increased sales of electronics and appliances, data from Statistics Canada showed on Friday.
The gain, 0.6 percent, topped economists’ forecasts for a 0.2 percent improvement, but after removing the effects of price changes, volumes were flat. May was revised down slightly to 0.9 percent from 1.0 percent.
Sales at gasoline stations rose 2.6 percent, the fifth consecutive month of gains as prices at the pump climbed. Sales at electronics and appliance stores rose 9.4 percent as consumers bought more phones and home office electronics. The increase coincided with new rules limiting the duration of cellphone contracts, the agency said.
After four straight months of gains, sales at new-car dealers declined by 0.5 percent, dragging the overall motor vehicle and parts sector down 0.1 percent.
Canada may have been in recession in the first half of the year as the oil-exporting country has been hit by the drop in crude prices, and economists will parse the report for signs an expected rebound is taking hold. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)